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What we learned from the Ducks' 2-1 loss to the Lightning

What we learned from the Ducks' 2-1 loss to the Lightning
Tampa Bay's Jonathan Marchessault is knocked to the ice by Ducks' Clayton Stoner while trying to get a shot off in front of goalie John Gibson. (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

No one could fault the Ducks much in their effort against Stanley Cup finalist Tampa Bay.

They gave a proven team all they could handle and had a much better showing than recent lopsided losses to the Lightning.

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It won't count for anything in the standings, though, after a 2-1 loss Wednesday. The Ducks got knocked back again in their fourth attempt at winning back-to-back games since they last did so Nov. 7.

Here's what we learned:

Taking positives from losses doesn’t mean much. Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau liked the effort and thought they outplayed the Lightning, but stated the obvious.

"In the end, we've got to come up with a win," Boudreau said. "It seems to be eluding us on a regular basis. We can talk about how good we're playing against good teams and doing the right things, but I think the two points are most necessary at this point."

Said Cam Fowler, “There’s a lot of good that you can find but … a loss is a loss. With where we’re at in the standings, we can’t afford many of those.”

Not much more could have been asked of Rickard Rakell. Rakell was tenacious at both ends of the rink. He set up Corey Perry's goal and earlier hit the post on a deflection. Rakell played a season-high 19:20 in one of his best games this season.

There could be some decision-making with the goalies soon. John Gibson has played well in five games since his recall, enough to justify keeping him in net even though No.1 Frederik Andersen is nearing a return from illness.

Boudreau didn't say if Andersen would return Friday against San Jose. He has been practicing for several days in his recovery from flu.

The Ducks are carrying three goalies in Gibson, Andersen and Anton Khudobin

They could send Gibson back to the San Diego Gulls because his contract allows them to do so without subjecting him to waivers, but his play has made it difficult to justify.

They could explore a trade of Khudobin or put him on waivers, although that would seem a last-resort move.

They could also keep three goalies, although it's not ideal. In whatever scenario, the clock is ticking.

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